Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What does Lady Gaga teach us about business?

Lady Gaga and business - does not sound like a great combination....  But there are so many valuable lessons that we can gain from the way in which she conducts herself and what her skills sets are.
I recently attended an amazing reunion and retreat with some highly driven women from our Harvard Business School group.  Our guest, Professor Peter Little Deputy Vice Chancellor
QUT, presented us with the case study of Lady Gaga and there were indeed some very interesting learnings that were drawn from her life, her experiences, her marketing and music.

1. Lady Gaga is constant with being consistent with her brand. 
Have you got a brand and do you think you need one?
Brand is a business construct.  If you do not have a brand, your reputation is less refined.  If you are trying to persuade people around you to engage with you and if you are aspiring to be a leader, you need to pay careful attention to your personal and business brand.

2. Gifts are critical to your journey through life and the expression of these are so important. Each person has gifts that need to be respected.  Reflect and identify your gifts or risk being a fraction of what you could be.  Sometimes need to have a mentor who identifies your gifts for you.
Lady Gaga nurtures her gifts.  She has imagination in using her gifts.  She has a vision for using her gifts.  Find what your gifts are and get a vision for them.  Lady Gaga marshals her gifts and can see the world around her with incredible clarity.  In the world where we area saturated with information, to be able to pull the curtains apart and really see the world, is very impressive. 
Gifts are the core.  Identify them and nurture them.  Have a vision for them and exercise them.  Share your gifts with the world.  You don't want to say later in life that you did not give things a go. 

3. Lady Gaga builds a sense of community with her followers. She also asks where we are going together.  She is in fact a powerful sales person who has a clear narrative. 
Do you build a narrative that aligns with your values?  This involves telling the story of what we are going to do in simple language.  The story also needs to be consistent for those you are trying to convince.   What is the story if you want the organisation to have the right culture?
People won't just follow you.  Communicate a vision for the organisation and how you are going to get there.   You need a narrative that is right for the time.  Draw people in to pursuing the narrative. 

4. Lady Gaga also gives us a lesson in modernity.  She fully understands global markets and the increasing impacts of technology.   She has the ability to appeal to 25 million people worldwide who follow her.
Think of the demise of Kodak, Nokia and others.
In 1980 you would have invested in Kodak as they had incredible market penetration. Think about Nokia and the disruptive innovation of the iPhone.  Nokia went in to decline and is no longer the number one mobile phone company in world.  Even in 2012, you would back Nokia to produce a mobile and distribute it better than anyone.  But what they missed is that mobile became an interface with digital.  Production engineers were at the helm of Nokia and ignored the smart phones. 
Darryl Lea is an other example - an iconic chocolate maker.  They had stores all around the country and produced the same product range for past 85 years.  Others started to nibble away at market share and they were squeezed from the top and the bottom.  They failed to see what was happening with the new generation of consumers.
Then you see Lady Gaga.  What does it say about the modern competitive world?
If you want a thriving business you have to adapt to the new world.  

5. You must learn every day.  Jim Collins says that we must have "productive paranoia".  We must just assume things are going to be tough in the future and that drives us towards innovation. Lady Gaga fully understands this and engages with her audience in very different, non-traditional ways.  She was able to build 'followship' by building mass intimacy with her followers.
In every interview, Lady Gaga emphasises how she dedicates her life to her fans, her "little monsters."
 How do you build followership?
Gaga strives to be the best she can be - did you improve during the last year?

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